Texas is known for a lot of amazing cuisine. Obviously steak and tacos come to mind. And, sure, no one in their right mind is going to turn down authentic Tex-Mex when in the Lone Star state. But maybe you’re craving something a little off the beaten path or just want to eat something other than a hot dog and chili fries when en route to a Cowboys game. This is indeed possible. After a weekend in Arlington, I discovered some of the best international eats in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.

Amongst the unassuming strip malls that surround the ATT Stadium are hidden gems of locally owned restaurants with authentically sourced dishes. Let’s give a global spin to your tailgate and highlight a few of the most unusual food swaps to try come game day.

Trade in chicken wings for jerk chicken.

Jamaican food may not be the most intuitive take on poultry when it comes to traditional tailgating, but the dry rub is a great spicy and smoky alternative for those bored with buffalo wings. At Arlington restaurant Jamaican Gates you can get more than your fair share, as well as tons of other Caribbean faves. If you’re feeling more adventurous, try the curry goat or whole red snapper for equally fiery flavor.

Up your ice cream game with halo-halo.

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I flew to Texas to eat halo-halo

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If you’re looking for Asian eats that go beyond Americanized Chinese food, stop by DelCiano for some Filipino delights. The pancit noodles and pandesal (yeasty, buttery rolls) are a carb lover’s dream. Honestly, I could make a meal off those alone. However, the real highlight has to be the halo-halo. The Instagram-ready dessert tastes as good as it looks. For the uninitiated, it’s a sundae of purple ube ice cream, shaved ice, and condensed coconut milk, topped with jackfruit and tapioca pearls. The blend of colors, textures, and of course flavors, makes for a complex and deeply layered dessert.

Pierogis always beat potato chips.

beef pierogies


If you want transportable pockets of mashed potatoes (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?!), ditch the chips and load up on pierogis. Russian restaurant A Taste of Europe provides ample old world charm and serves up dozens of these magical dumplings. Also, pro-tip for beet lovers: their borscht can’t be beat.

Who needs beer when you can have tiki cocktails? 


Okay, so maybe this one isn’t quite as authentically international as it glamorous and kitschy, but if you prefer fancy cocktails to bottles of beer, pre-game at 4 Kahunas Tiki Lounge. It’s all your Polynesian fantasies mashed up with SpongeBob’s Bikini Bottom. And even if you can’t make it out to the bar, it can at least inspire you make a Mai Tai instead of cracking open a can of Bud Lite.

Related Video: Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Jessica is a former Associate Editor at Chowhound. Follow her on Twitter @volume_knob for updates on snacks and cats.
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